A lot of us work very hard and sometimes get so busy that we don’t take the time to look at what we are working on. We forget to ask if we’re working on the right things. How can you reclaim some of your time and still get the results you want? One word – prioritise.
- Understand the outcomes you want to achieve. If you’re managing a team make sure that they understand what are the important outcomes to achieve
- Ask yourself what’s the most important thing I can do today to get me closer to what I want to achieve? Am I firefighting all the time on the urgent things? If you haven’t already check out Stephen Covey’s Important Urgent quadrant
- Know the things to say no to – check if you are doing things that are important for other people and having a detrimental impact on you.
- Plan ahead – look at major commitments you have coming up – a project deadline; annual planning – understand how much of your time you’ve already committed to other things
- Manage other people’s expectations – take a look at what other people want from you and how much of your time they require versus what they expect
- Figure out the best planning resource for you – add details to your calendar on your phone, write commitments in your diary, write a to-do list, use the important, urgent quadrant for your to-do list – find one that works for you
- Give yourself free time to deal with the unexpected – we sometimes plan for 100% of our time, this immediately puts us under pressure if something goes a little awry!
- Make sure you give yourself time for yourself – if you’re constantly busy, you won’t be able to stay physically and mentally fit to keep going at pace. Figure out what down time works best for you to help you to relax and find time for this
To get different results, focus on things you need to change and what changes you can make to give you the biggest impact. It is when we are going through our busiest time period that it can help to stop, take a step back and see if you can do anything differently. Ask yourself what you could be doing differently?
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important” – Stephen Covey